DemDaily: Ohio Primary Election Results!

May 4, 2022

The 2022 primary season kicked off in full force yesterday with contests in Ohio and Indiana.

The elections mark the first major test of former President Donald Trump's influence going into the 2022 midterms. The month of primaries ahead are expected to provide a preview of where the parties may be heading in November's midterm elections.

US Senate
Ohio Republicans selected venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance as their nominee to replace retiring GOP Senator Rob Portman.

Vance soared in the polls in recent weeks following the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, surpassing institutional favorite Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel and a field of five other candidates.

With 99% reporting, Vance secured 32.2% of the vote to Mandel's 23.9%, followed by State Senator Matt Dolan with 23.3%, investment banker and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons at 11.7%, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken at 5.9%, Mark Pukita at 2.1% and Neil Patel at 0.9%.

Once the bellwether of the country, Ohio went for Trump by eight points in 2020, breaking the state's record of voting with the winning presidential candidate since 1960.

While Vance's victory clearly puts one in the win column for Trump, the late surge of Dolan, the only anti-Trump candidate in the race, suggests that almost a quarter of GOP primary voters clearly sought an alternative to Trump's Big Lie.

One month prior to Trump's May 15th endorsement, Vance trailed Mandel and Gibbons by double digits and was just a few points ahead of Timken, who had the endorsement of moderate incumbent Portman, and Dolan.

The fact that, all told, nearly 68% of Republican primary voters opted for other candidates, gives Democrats hope of splitting off swing voters in the battleground state.

Vance will face 10-term Congressman Tim Ryan, who easily swept the Democratic primary with 69.7% of the vote to Morgan Harper's 17.7%, and Traci Johnson's 12.6%.

Vance's notoriety further elevates the national profile of the match, in what promises to be one of the most expensive Senate races in the country. The primary broke state records for fundraising with over $50 million raised among the candidates as of April 13, 2022, including self-financing, which accounted for 71% of the GOP totals.

Going into the primary, Vance had raised $2.53 million, with $690,000 cash on hand, but had benefited from $12.63 million in support from outside groups. Ryan had raised $13 million and had $5.18 million cash on hand.

Incumbent Republican Governor Mike DeWine survived a contentious primary challenge, winning re-nomination 48.1% to former Congressman Jim Renacci’s 28%, followed by farmer and restaurateur Joe Blystone's 21.8% and Ron Hood at 2.1%

DeWine, who previously served as a Congressman, US Senator (1995-2007) and Ohio Attorney General (2011-2019), narrowly defeated Democrat Richard Cordrey, 50.39% to 46.68% in 2018, to win the governor's mansion.

Trump did not get involved in Ohio’s GOP gubernatorial primary, despite the engagement of his former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, as Renacci's top adviser.

DeWine will face former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley 65% to 35% to become the first woman ever nominated by a major party for Ohio governor.

Although generally regarded as an uphill challenge, the race could move to the competitive category if Democrats are able to capitalize on a state Republican Party still reeling from the massive 2020 corruption scandal that toppled the Speaker of the GOP-controlled State House.

Also yet to be determined is the effect of this week's leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v Wade on the general election. It may, however, have already played a role in the Democratic primary.

Whaley used news of the leaked opinion to appeal to voters on election day, saying, “It has never been more important to elect a genuinely pro-choice candidate to be Ohio’s next governor." Whaley's opponent, Cranley, started his political career as a "pro-life Democrat," but switched his position in 2014. Polls going into the primary showed Waley and Cranley within ten points of each other.

DeWine has called himself “the most pro-life governor in Ohio history,” and Ohio plans to reinstate the "heartbeat bill" if Roe is overturned.

According to a 2019 Quinnipiac University poll, 61% of Ohio voters agreed with the Roe v. Wade decision while 32% opposed it.

Redistricting: Ohio is one of the last congressional district maps to be adopted, at least for now. The Ohio State Supreme Court has twice rejected GOP-gerrymandered lines but announced it would not hear arguments on the latest map from the Ohio Redistricting Commission until after the May 3 primary, suggesting it will not rule in time to affect the 2022 election.

Congressional Highlights
In the 11th Congressional District, Congresswoman Shontel Brown successfully defeated Nina Turner 66.3% to 33.7% in a rematch of their August 2021 special election primary to fulfill the remaining term of former Congresswoman and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. Brown will face Republic challenger Eric Brewer in November.

In the open 13th District vacated by Ryan, Trump-backed attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert won the crowded GOP primary to take on former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Former Trump White House staffer Max Miller easily prevailed over three other contenders in Ohio's new conservative 7th CD. Miller will face Democrat Matthew Diemer.

In a seat the GOP hopes to flip, J.R. Majewski, who twice painted a 19,000-square foot Trump banner on his lawn, will be taking on longtime Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in the newly redistricted 9th District.

Tomorrow: Indiana Primary Results

DemDaily: Update on Redistricting. The Final Four 4/28/22
DemDaily: Eyes on Alaska 4/27/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin 4/15/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Kansas, Michigan and Nevada 4/14/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Governors Races: Arizona and Georgia 4/13/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Other Races to Watch 4/6/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate II 3/30/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate I 3/29/22
DemDaily: Texas Primary Results! 3/3/22

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: New York Times, Bloomberg, Columbus Dispatch,, NPR

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